It has been a long time since I have been sitting in the railway station and even longer since I have been sitting on my marriage. Lucky are those who marry the people they love. I also considered myself lucky for marrying the man of my dreams. I have been married for fifteen years.
The first three years were too good to be true. Both of us struggled and suffered together to maintain our household. My husband is a banker and I am a teacher. This makes me a part-time working woman and full-time homemaker. We decided to get pregnant after four years of marriage. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. Sarah is ten and Clara is seven. They were both in school when I stormed out of the house. However, the house was not empty when I left. My beloved husband Harry was there.
When our financial condition started to spiral, our relationship started to sink, or so I felt. Anniversaries became more of relationship rituals than a celebration of love and togetherness. I don’t remember when was the last time I received a surprise from him. As I sat on the subway, my eyes caught the sight of a billboard that read, “Divorce Specialists: Contact us before your partner does.”
This stirred something inside me. I made up my mind and barged into his study. My hands on my hips, I demanded, “Who am I?”
Confused and taken aback, he kept looking at me. I demanded a reply. All he could utter, “Jenny.” No sooner did he answer my first question, I shot him my next, “Who am I to you?” This time Harry sat up straight and tried to calm me. He wanted to explain things to me on seeing a folded paper in my hand. Signalling him to stop right there, I asked one again, “Tell me, who am I to you?”
“Jenny, what kind of question is this?” He sounded incredulous. Unfazed, I demanded, “Harry, I need to know what am I to you?” “You are my wife.” Pointing my fingers at him, I retaliated, “This….this is what I don’t want. I don’t intend to be your wife anymore.”
Harry looked horrified and devastated at the same time. I handed out the paper in my hand to him, he pushed my hand away and implored, “Jenny…Jenny, please don’t do this. Think about the kids. Think about me. I cannot imagine my life without you. I know I have been unmindful. I have been extremely busy and neglectful all these years. But babe, please give me a chance. I will sort out everything.” He broke down and with his face between his palms, he said it! He said what I wanted to hear from him, “You are not just my wife, you are my everything. I am what I am all because of your love and support.”
Once again, I tried to hand him the folded paper but he refused to take it. Sitting next to him, I said, “Read it just once. It may not be what you assume it to be.” Helpless and dejected, he took the paper from me. He sat up straight on reading the very heading. “What is this?” Harry asked confused.
“The fourfold rules of our relationship!” I confirmed. Taking the letter from him, I began to read it out loudly.
1st Rule: I ban my husband when am alone with you. Alone time means I am with my friend, lover, well-wisher, or better half but not my husband. If a husband is someone who pays my bills and bears me babies then I am better off without one. I can pay my own bills and avail a sperm donor. I need a partner. Hence I ban my husband from my private space.
2nd Rule: Every day, we will dedicate one hour to each other. It will be just me and you, doing nothing and everything. We can read our own books, watch movies or do something of our choice. We will do it together. Sharing a space with your partner in harmony and unison generates positive energy and imbibes intimate vibes within the pair. It does not matter what we do. As long as we sit together, the task is done.
3rd Rule: Maintain a common personal diary. Both of us would share a common space where we can share our day with each other without fail. In this space, be it a virtual diary, an email thread or paper media, we will share what’s on our mind. It is a ritual and we will follow it religiously on a daily basis. The idea is to store our daily life with each other in memory form. In future, whenever we falter, we can always go back and read our moments to restore our trust in the relationship.
4th Rule: The whole idea of marriage infuriates me. Marriage is not something that should bind us. It should be the relationship that must hold us together. Marriages dissolve but relationships don’t.
Folding the paper I looked at him and smiled, “Honey, today I realized. I am with you because I want to be with you. I don’t want any condition or reasons to make the two of us stick to each other. You are my sky and I want to soar higher and higher in your arms.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as I continued to speak. But Harry is Harry, after a sudden outburst of emotion, he was back to being cool and calm. He took the paper from me, kept it over the book he has been reading. Taking out a pen, he signed at the bottom of the page. As he looked up, I could see tears in his eyes and a smile on his lips, “Your turn to seal the deed of eternal togetherness!”